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DALLAS -- Firsthand Management LLC, a chain of convenience stores whose president, Richard Oneslager, is also the incoming NACS chairman, finalized a deal to convert 10 of his northern Colorado convenience stores to 7-Eleven stores as part of the 7-Eleven Business Conversion Program.
"With rising prices and credit-card fees, and gas margins continuing to erode, we see the store offer as increasingly important," Oneslager said in a statement. "This is a tremendous opportunity for us to increase merchandise sales and margins inside our stores with 7-Eleven's proprietary systems, signature products and ability to leverage cost of goods. We believe this a sound back-court solution for independent retailers in the fuel and convenience retailing business."
The move, which sees stores transitioned in December month, is a move to strengthen the offering and improve the bottom line, 7-Eleven stated. The deal is the largest multi-site store conversion as part of the Business Conversion Program to date, according to the company. Stores that will be transitioned are located at:
-- 11000 35th St., Greeley, Colo.
-- 2024 Big Horn, Fort Collins, Colo.
-- 200 N. Taft Hill Road, Fort Collins, Colo.
-- 1032 W Mountain Road, Fort Collins, Colo.
-- 1100 Broad St., Milliken, Colo.
-- 629 Main St., Windsor, Colo.
-- 1509 E Eisenhower St., Loveland, Colo.
-- 11411 Twenty Mile Road, Parker, Colo.
-- 1401 9th St., Greeley, Colo.
-- 4695 20th St., Greeley, Colo.
"Adding Firsthand stores to our franchise system meets our goals of growing our operation in key markets, expanding 7-Eleven's convenience offering to more people and will add economies of scale to our infrastructure and advertising," Jeff Schenck, senior vice president of franchising and development for 7-Eleven, said in a statement.
As part of the agreement, 7-Eleven will invest in upgrades to the 10 stores, and provide new equipment, its retail information system, business consulting and support, the company stated. The transitioned stores will also see daily deliveries of fresh foods and time-sensitive products through 7-Eleven's proprietary supply chain system, according to the company.
"This will be a big win for our team, our customers and employees, who will grow professionally because of the new association with 7-Eleven," Oneslager said. "Just as important, we now are better positioned to really grow our store business. All of us in the gasoline sales business are feeling the pinch and increased volatility of gasoline margins. To be successful long term and improve our profitability, we needed a new business format, a well-recognized brand with trademarked products and services the consumer readily appreciates and a business system with solid marketing plans."
Firsthand Management is the retail division of Centennial, Colo.-based Balmar Petroleum, a fuel distributing company, according to the company. The 10 stores being converted to 7-Eleven will continue to offer Shell- and Conoco-branded gas provided by Balmar, the company stated.
Firsthand Management operates 14 convenience stores in Colorado, and 16 in Portland, Ore. Oneslager has been active in the c-store industry for more than 13 years, and has served as the treasurer of NACS before assuming his role as chairman on Nov. 9, the company stated.